Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Starships Collection @ 50: Our Perfect Ten

Since August 2013, Eaglemoss have produced 50 regular issues and four specials bringing the starships of Star Trek to life and into the hands of fans - in many cases for the very first time.

As issue 50 drops us NCC-1701 from The Original Series, the question I've been keen to ask is; what are the best ten issues that have come from Ben Robinson and the collection team?

Instead of waffling on myself for the next chunk of the article what better way than to ask some of my friends from across the Star Trek community which ones are indeed the best ships? (and I'll jump in here or there...)

Let's head back to the very early days to kick this one off...

Enterprise; NX-01; Issue 4

"The NX-01 for me just hits all the marks." said SKoST friend and series collector Nils Walter Khan; "To choose this Enterprise over the amazing first issue D is hard to do, but there is something extra special about this one I feel. The silvery hull finish and degree of aztecing look great from any angle first of all, and are as balanced and accurate looking as any Enterprise in the collection since. 

The super-fine filigree hull plating is amazing top AND bottom, even the saucer's edge, and in fact nearly the whole model is metal and feels as balanced and solid as Captain Archer's ship itself. As for joins/seams, there are none that I can see. The detailing paint apps are just as sharp as the hull plating, and there was no skimping on this one. Impulse power? Check. Blue light piping in the fine warp nacelle openings, even showing the broken/dashed blue glow. Check."

Simon Cordell from The Engage Podcast also sneaked the NX-01 in as an honourable mention; "It is without a doubt Eaglemoss at their best. Every minor detail has been painstakingly applied to the almost completely metal model…which leaves you speechless every time you see it! Bravo Eaglemoss!

"This of course bodes well for the release of Eaglemoss’ sixth special edition, the Enterprise NX-01 refit. Which after the response this model has got, makes it one of the most anticipated starships they are going to create."

USS Voyager NCC-74656 - Issue 6

"This is a model which I myself am surprised I'm choosing, as it’s not the first model which springs to mind!" notes Simon from The Engage Podcast.

"But it’s a model Eaglemoss should be pleased with…as it symbolises the Intrepid Class ‘hero ship’ admirably, as it has a great level of detail. Which Captain Janeway would be proud of! Well done Eaglemoss!!!"

My thoughts here - yep, Voyager a nice ship if a little icky on the paint job although I am partial to the armoured version from issue 48. One of the core ships they had to do and early!

Romulan D'deridex Class Warbird - Issue 5

Simon's second choice is also from the early days of the series; "I think that the Romulan D'deridex class Warbird is somewhat overlooked, as it has an amazing attention to detail for its size.

"Combined with its quite accuracy paint apps and almost total metal construction, means that you could believe it was patrolling the Neutral Zone causing problems for the crew of the Enterprise!!!"

Friend of SKoST Dan Foster was also a fan of the big Romulan vessel we originally saw in The Next Generation's first season; "It was the first one of the models that really had a "wow" factor for me. As a fan of the original design I had seen it reproduced as a model by AMT, a toy from Playmates, and of course smaller Micro Machines and Heroclix miniatures. 

"This version however had a real weight to it, and actually seemed to improve on the original design. Now, I have never seen the original shooting model, but the earlier reproductions seemed to capture its lines pretty well. Eaglemoss' version seemed to have thinner nacelles and a longer neck which to me really added to the elegance of the design and amplified the menace. The painted-on window detailing also stood out."

K'Tinga Class Cruiser; Issue 7

Dan also picked out the second Klingon vessel featured in the series as a real highlight: "The K'Tinga Class cruiser; the model's slavish adherence to the original's surface detail made it for me. The Motion Picture redesign of Matt Jeffries' original added a texture that really gave a realistic feel to the ship in general, and Eaglemoss captured that well. Its true strength though is the subtlety of the grey tones across that surface adding depth to the texture. It is very nicely done and an early indicator of the professional looking product Eaglemoss would continue to provide."

I also love this design and would put it into an individual top ten. The hull detail and the overall finish were superb. It'll be interesting to compare it to the upcoming, very plain D-7 from The Original Series.

USS Defiant, NX-74205; Issue 8

Phil Tuck from The Engage Podcast headed to one of my favourites as part of his selection and while I don't think it's one of the best personally, I get his reasons for its selection; "Why this one I hear you shouting? Well I chose it because this is my favourite ship of all time, I mean just seeing it peering in and out of the shadow at the start of every Deep Space Nine episode makes me get goose bumps!

"It’s just one of those things that makes me smile because I just love it and that’s the only way I can describe it!"

Also one of the first with a blatant error in the alignment of one of the pennants. This was later corrected from the German release onwards. Personally I wasn't too sure with this one as the front warhead seemed a bit loose. Thing is, even though it might have been, it's Defiant. End of.

USS Thunderchild; NCC-63549; Akira Class; Issue 12

UK Star Trek fan and collector Rob Gibson picked out a very popular ship from The Next Generation movies as one of his entries onto our list; "This was the first ship I thought about way back when the magazine was first announced (such a long time ago!).

"I remember the first time I saw this ship in First Contact and immediately wanting to know everything about it. Eaglemoss really did go all out on this model and did a great job recreating her, making sure to keep it screen accurate by keeping USS Thunderchild off the hull registry was something I really liked! 

"Issue 12 was the first issue to tackle a ship which had never been created as a model for the fans before, Eaglemoss really didn't dissapoint! (One minor gripe... this was the first model with Eaglemoss' awesome spelling mistakes)."

"After this, I had a couple of Fed ships to look forward too including the Delta Flyer, Runabout, the Stargazer to name but a few, but the USS Pasteur was high on my list and the model was amazing. The level of detail, I thought, was some of the best of the series so far. The windows, escape pods, hull markings etc were all clear and sharp looking. Considering the size of this ship I was expecting closer to the Excelsior levels of detail but I was very glad to be proven wrong."

Jem'Hadar Fighter; Issue 29

The Engage Podcast's Phil picked our next entry from the mid-range of the current 50 issues; "Although this is not an obvious choice it’s the one I have chosen, because I feel it’s an under loved ship and for some reason it has a bad reputation, or is this just me?

"Yes you could say it looks like a bug in flight, you could say it’s a silly colour, you could even go as far to say you only like it when you see one explode? For me it’s sleek, it’s menacing, and it’s scary in battle!

Now here’s the clever bit! I say this to you, imagine seeing this ship and the Defiant in battle.... now you know what I mean!

Romulan Drone; Issue 39

"I wasn't looking forward to this in the slightest but the Drone blew me away, easily my biggest surprise love of the series so far..." stated Rob in relation to the flea-like vessel from Enterprise.

"She feels heavy and well built but the masts also make it feel delicate. The paint apps are spot on and give the ship a fantastic sheen and reflectivity, I didn't realise how great the ship looked until I got my hands on this model!

Alien ships have lots to chose from but a lot of the ships have been done to death in previous model series. The Romulan Warbird and Klingon D7 I think are definitely in my top ten alien ships but, the Enterprise ships really were fantastic and most had never been seen before! Deciding which were my favourites was tough..."

USS Pasteur, NCC-58925; Issue 42

Nils' second choice actually seems a fairly obvious one when he explained why; "We campaigned together (Clive and I) pleading like little kids for their best ever Christmas wish, and I can't help but feel like we got it! I was never so pleased as when the Pasteur got announced without any prior notice, and not long after, we saw the first pictures of the model. 

I knew right away it would be a favourite of mine, and wasn't even remotely disappointed after it finally arrived. In fact it's better that I though.... the lovely robins egg shell blue colouration and astounding amount of detail really jumps out at you. Not to mention that shape :-) Love it or hate it, it's so well executed I can barely tell the difference between this four inch model and the filming model pictures I've seen. Up on the shelf, packed with other Federation ships, my eye goes straight to it every time."

Thanks to Nils for supplying us some great pics for the Pasteur and the Enterprise!

So that leaves me (Clive) with the final choice and it's not a difficult one....

Deep Space Nine; Special 1

I may be accused of cheating but frankly I don't care. When this arrived I may have shed a fanboy-esque tear. Even better was getting the chance to do a pre-release preview for Eaglemoss with some exclusive pics.

The station was a revelation. To do it in the collection wasn't a massive shocker but having it as a big-scale special was more than welcome and something that should have been applied to the Enterprise-E at the least...and maybe Excelsior...and - anyway - it was another perfect ten if we were scoring, even down to the packaging. To date it still remains the only space station in the series - but more on that in our third and final piece celebrating 50 issues this week. Ok so there were no tiny aerials here and there but this was a strong entry which also prepared us for the bigger scale specials which, sadly since then have trodden the JJverse path and will do until special six's NX-01 refit.

If you're pushing to find out which ship I would select if I hadn't gone for Deep Space Nine and restricted myself to the 50 regular issues then I'd swap out the station and stick in ECS Fortunate. Yep - that's dropped a few jaws I bet. I was overly impressed with the finishing details on the Enterprise guest ship right down to the numbering of the individual pods, the panelling lines, the lot. I never expected or wanted to like her but the finishing was nigh on perfect in every respect and she's become a favourite of mine. If you go back and check out my anticipation rating I was not looking forward to her but as with ALL the Enterprise entries it was excellent.

A big thank you to Nils, Simon, Phil, Dan and Rob for their involvement with this article. Great to hear your opinions gents and I'll see you all for your thoughts at issue 100!

Don't forget we still have the EXCLUSIVE interview with Ben Robinson from the Starships Collection and you can already read our review of issue 50 HERE

So what were your favourites from the collection so far? Did we get it right or utterly wrong?

You can now see our short review of the USS Enterprise 50th issue model on our YouTube channel.

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